Friday, January 22, 2010

New Film about Tolstoy

Joe Morgenstern reviews the new film about the last year of Tolstoy's life and his tempestuous relationship with his wife Countess Sonya. I have read mixed reactions to the movie but as far as I am concerned anything with Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren as Leo and Sonya is not to be missed. After I read Anne Edwards' biography of Countess Tolstoy I came to have great respect for all that she went through with the Count. For one thing, if it had not been for Sonya rewriting and editing War and Peace and Anna Karenina those novels would not have taken shape and been published. As for Toltoy's final Manichean obsession, it would have been enough to push any wife over the edge. At any rate, the following is an excerpt of what Morgenstern says of the The Last Station:
The movie's title, with its religious overtones, is a literal reference to the railway station where Leo Tolstoy died a few days after leaving his wife and home, presumably to become a wandering ascetic (though he brought his personal physician with him). The little station, in the middle of a vast Russian nowhere, quickly became the site of a protomedia frenzy when telegraph wires flashed news of Tolstoy's illness, and Sofya came to see her beloved husband for the last time. The story's climax turns out to be anticlimactic, a predictable contrivance that pits the countess, for the last time, against Chertkov, who wants to manage Tolstoy's death as he managed his life. But the ending seems contrived only in contrast to what has gone before—a lovely quicksilver version of literary history, with the accent on young love that emerges unbidden, and old love that endures.

More HERE, from The Thinking Housewife. Share

7 comments:

Stephanie A. Mann said...

I agree with you about the appeal of those two actors. I liked Helen Mirren's expression of respect for Elizabeth II when winning those awards for "The Queen." Plummer is also a draw. I look forward to this movie coming to Wichita!

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, I hope it comes to my town. Most really good movies don't.....

SF said...

The "Thinking Housewife" did a story on the Tolstoy's marriage. I found it interesting.

Here's the link:

http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2009/09/famous-couples-lev-and-sofya-tolstoy/

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Susan, I will check it out!

Matterhorn said...

Interesting, as Helen Mirren is partly of Russian (aristocratic/military) ancestry herself.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, M., I was thinking the same.

Julygirl said...

No question about it....I will see it in spite of mixed reviews. Both those actors are at the top of their field and are not to be dismissed lightly by a critic.